The branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) L-valine, L-leucine, and L-isoleucine enhance protein synthesis. Because they can be oxidized in the cell’s mitochondria, the branched chain amino acids also provide energy and serve as fuel sources for skeletal muscles and hair cells, particularly during periods of metabolic stress. As a result, BCAAs are consistently used with success to support liver function, improve insulin resistance, beta cell function as well as energy metabolism and glucose tolerance in certain people. They are also used by athletes and bodybuilders for their anabolic properties because of their ability to increase Growth Hormone production, and to facilitate peak performance.

      BCAA’s form the primary constituents of potassium ion channels found in human hair follicles. As you may know from our previous updates, it has been established that areas of the scalp with androgenetic hair loss have diminished membrane potential and as a result, significantly reduced potassium ion channel function. Potassium ion channels are essential for maintaining the full biological activity and function of the hair follicle. The stimulation of Potassium ion channels was established to be the hair growth mechanism of topically applied minoxidil (Rogaine). 

      Dr. Whitfield, of Oxford University, has found that this mechanism of Rogaine can be readily replicated using an internal combination of ingredients of which the BCAA’s form a foundation. He has conducted Phase 2 trials on this BCAA based, oral intervention which has yielded astoundingly positive results.

      We have generally recommended against the initiation of topical Rogaine treatment due to its limited benefit, quick tolerance, and most importantly due to the extreme and immediate shedding it causes upon cessation of usage. One study showed that even the concurrent usage of Propecia was unable to stop this particular effect. In this regard, it may be accurately stated that Rogaine holds your hair hostage, once you are on it for more than a few months.

 Post Rogaine Shed Documented in Archives of Dermatology.

      Fortunately there are health promoting, much more direct and cost effective ways to stimulate Potassium ion channel function. You can do so by simply integrating BCAA’s, ideally along with the newer, more bioavailable forms of Carnitine, and a modest dose of Niacin, into your existing treatment regime. Dr. Whitfield has shown that this oral combination, even in relatively low doses, far outperforms Rogaine, and as importantly, doesn’t forever subject your hair to the reality of an extreme effluvium (shed), should you ever have to stop.